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Moore’s brisk fundraising pace continues in office, but he also spends liberally

Gov. Wes Moore (D) and President Joe Biden at a get-out-the-vote rally in Bowie in 2022. Moore’s campaign says he raised $1.3 million for Biden last year. Photo by Daniele E. Gaines.

Gov. Wes Moore (D), who used national connections and his growing political popularity to set fundraising records during his 2022 campaign, continues to raise money at a furious pace.

In campaign finance documents released Wednesday, Moore reported collecting more than $2.6 million for his own campaign committee during his first year in office. On top of that, the governor helped the Maryland Democratic Party raise almost half a million dollars in its state accounts between mid-January 2023 and this January, while his lieutenant governor, Aruna Miller, reported raising $274,000 over the past year.

Moore’s campaign also said Wednesday that the governor “led” a $1.3 million fundraiser in the past year for President Biden’s reelection.

But the cost of getting a high-profile, history-making governor across the country, where he is in great demand as a campaign surrogate and event headliner for Biden and other Democrats, is substantial: Moore’s campaign spent almost as much in the past year as it raised — more than $2.1 million.

As of Jan. 10, Moore had $1,986,636.67 in his campaign treasury. Just as he took in more than $17 million for his first campaign and almost $4.6 million for his inauguration festivities, Moore continued raising money at a fast clip in 2023 and early 2024. That’s reflected in his annual fundraising report, which totaled 1,038 pages.

Moore’s campaign said that more than 80% of the contributions he received were for less than $100, and that his donors came from every jurisdiction in Maryland.

“Our movement would not be possible without our grassroots supporters,” Moore said in a statement. “From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank everyone who continues to support our mission to leave no one behind. From a historic service year option to supporting our veterans and more, this first year of the Moore-Miller Administration has been one of incredible progress and partnership with leaders across the state of Maryland.”

It’s true that there are hundreds of low-dollar donors in Moore’s campaign finance report. One gentleman from Uniontown, Pa., sent in $1. A woman from Monrovia contributed $5 a month in 2023 on the 17th of every month.

But Moore’s campaign report was also stuffed with big donations from special interest groups, many with business before the state: real estate developers, lawyers, health care executives, bankers, tech entrepreneurs and State House lobbyists.

The campaign took in more than $2.4 million in donations from individuals and businesses, plus $73,750 in federal political action committee donations and another $30,500 in contributions from Maryland-based PACs. Dozens of individuals and entities “maxed out” to the governor, with donations of $6,000 each.

The governor’s campaign report is also chock-full of donations from people whose spheres of influence are outside of the Maryland political world. These include donations from Douglas Durst, a New York real estate mogul who gave $3,000; Patrick Gaspard, a former close adviser to President Obama who is now an official at the Center for American Priorities in Washington, D.C., and donated $2,000; and Maya Harris, a California attorney who is the sister of Vice President Kamala Harris. She donated $1,500.

Also in the realm of presidential politics, Moore received a $50 donation from someone named Calvin Coolidge of Lake Frederick, Va., who, according to the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation, is a distant relative of the 30th president.

But Moore’s campaign expenditures over the past year were equally fascinating and Illuminating. The governor kept his political organization largely intact during his first year in office, maintaining a campaign office in Baltimore, paying a handful of staffers throughout the year, along with several consultants.

It’s been known that Moore traveled out of state a good bit during 2023, and his campaign report shows tens of thousands of dollars in expenditures for airfare, lodging and other travel expenses across the country.

While the reports don’t list everywhere the governor has been on campaign business — for himself, the Biden campaign, the Democratic Governors Association, or other Democratic candidates and entities — expenditures for meals for Moore’s campaign staffers tell part of the story.

According to campaign finance reports, Moore’s campaign staff rang up meal expenditures in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, Atlantic City, Sag Harbor on Long Island, Jersey City, Louisville (where Moore attended the Kentucky Derby), Frankfort, Ky., Asheville, N.C., Washington, D.C., and more. One expenditure was for campaign staff meals at a Wawa in Runnemede, N.J.

Some of the campaign’s other big expenses included a $53,000 payment to Hart Research, Moore’s political polling firm; at least $64,500 to Foglamp Consulting, a D.C. digital strategy firm; at least $40,000 to Middle Seat Consulting, a progressive media firm; $13,750 to West Wing Writers, a communications firm; $8,000 to Wynn Las Vegas, a hotel and casino; and $72,417.38 to Adeo Advocacy, the Baltimore-based fundraising and strategy firm.

Miller’s campaign finance report showed 71 contributions of $1,000 or more, while at least 23 contributors “maxed out,” giving $6,000 apiece. These included Maggie Cordish, wife of the developer and casino operator David Cordish; Ted Leonsis, the owner of the Washington Wizards, Washington Capitals and Monumental Sports; Yolanda Maria Martinez, the head of the Governor’s Office of Small, Minority, and Women Business Affairs whose nomination to the Maryland Stadium Authority board collapsed in controversy; and Martinez’s husband, Ellicott City businessman Ricardo Martinez.

Miller took in $23,300 from federal campaign committees, including $4,800 from a congressional campaign committee she established in 2021. She received $1,100 from state campaign committees, including $1,000 from Maryland Secretary of State Susan Lee, a Moore appointee and former state senator.

Miller’s campaign raised $274,021.43 over the past year, spent $15,344.90, and finished with $412,343.27 on hand.

Between Moore’s bank account, the lieutenant governor’s treasury, and the $22,404.92 in their joint fundraising committee, which was mostly inactive over the past year, the pair has $2,421,385.06 on hand for their 2026 reelection, assuming they run together again as a team.

Meanwhile, the Maryland Democratic Party, as of Jan. 10, reported $276,100.25 on hand in its state account for elections, and another $67,832.73 in the bank in an administrative account. All told, the state party brought in $494,303.60 in its state account from mid-January of last year through Jan. 10. with at least 23 donations of $10,000 or more. The biggest contribution, of $27,050, came from the Young Men’s Democratic Club of Prince George’s County, followed by BGE, Comcast, Infinite Computer Solutions Inc., Venable LLP, and Sam Fadul, who heads a family trust that is part of a group of developers seeking to build a data center complex in Frederick County. They each gave $25,000.

Certain political committees in Maryland are able to accept larger donations than candidate funds.

Check back with Maryland Matters throughout the week for more campaign finance updates.


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Moore’s brisk fundraising pace continues in office, but he also spends liberally